As the name suggests Santorini Black is a Black Wheat Greek Lager. Brewed in Santorini, Greece by Volkan Beer it is mentioned as a Dunkel. So is it a good Greek beer?
Apparently inspired by the black cliffs of Santorini and made with local ingredients including grape honey. I have tried their Blonde beer which also has the honey. However it made it a little too sweet, which I hope isn’t the case with the Black beer.
Is Santorini Black By Volkan A Good Greek Beer?
It is a good beer, however a little weird too, like a lager/porter hybrid. It pours pure black with a one finger off white head. On the nose it is malty caramel laced with a little coffee and chocolate. The taste follows the aroma with a malt caramel base followed by a little bitter chocolate and coffee laced with a little fruity citrus. The mouthfeel is a little thin and it gets a rate my beer score of 3.7 – 5.0.
It is pleasant enough, like mixing a porter and a lager but without the body of the porter.
Volkan brewery was founded by Greek Shipping Heir Petros Nomikos. The beer is all about authentic Greek ingredients starting with the water.
The natural ground water of Santorini would be too salty for brewing. So Volkan have taken naturally formed basalt to create a lava rock filter which all the brewing water goes through.
The next local ingredient Volkan uses for brewing is Grape Honey which is only harvested once a year due to the intense climate.
The bees don’t have an array of options when it comes to plants. So in late summer they feed on the drying grapes used for the traditional Visanto wine. This produces the unique grape honey of Santorini.
Finally Citrus Medica a fruit similar to the lemon but more intense is also used in the brewing process. An ancient fruit from Naxos it has very little juice. So through a process normally used in the perfume industry, Volkan extract the essence of the Citrus Medica from the leaves of the tree.
All these ingredients make Volkan beer pretty unique.
Drinking Santorini Black
I actually tried this beer while in Santorini earlier this year along with Volkan Blonde Beer, which was a little too sweet.
The label is the same design as the Blonde with different colours. A picture of a volcano and the citrus medica fruit sit on the front.
The beer when poured is black with an off white top. The head does fade to a thin cover but leaves good lacing around the glass. A good amount of carbonation streams up the beer while it sits.
On the nose there is a malty caramel aroma, then hints of chocolate and coffee. A little citrus lurks in the background too.
The taste is just like the smell with a malty caramel up front. This is followed by those hints of a slight bitter chocolate and coffee that gives it a roasted feel.
A little fruity citrus on the back end with the slightest of sweetness. Thankfully the honey does not make it too sweet like the Blonde Beer.
The mouthfeel is a little thin than I expected, like I mentioned earlier it is a lager/porter hybrid. At 5.0% Vol it sits on the fence of session, however one is enough in my opinion. It gets a rate my beer score of 3.7 – 5.0.
M’Lady quite liked it but said “Like a coffee and caramel lager, a little thin and lacking depth.” Lou scores it a slightly higher 3.8 – 5.0.
Volkan beer is limited in the range that they brew, but all include the specially sourced local ingredients. They have four beers in the range. Santorini Blonde a pilsner style beer, Santorini Grey a wheat beer, Santorini White also a wheat beer and of course the Black.
At this point I normally feature a few other beers in a breweries range. However I have already featured them when I reviewed the Blonde Beer, so won’t repeat them here.
Volkan is an interesting brewery with their unique ingredients. I am not so sure about the honey being used in every beer though. It might be nice if they made a few beers without the honey.
It would be interesting to try these same beer without the honey, just to see the difference.
While I found the Blonde a little too sweet, the Black was a little better and more balanced. I have yet to try the Grey and White though.
If you have tried any of the Volkan beers, then do share your thoughts. What is your take on the honey in the beer?